DOJ spent millions prosecuting Texan who pressed for action against IRS, Lois Lerner

by WorldTribune Staff, August 5, 2019

The U.S. government went hard after a former member of Congress who exposed “many instances of high-level corruption by Obama officials,” including disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner.

Former Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican, is currently serving a 10-year federal prison sentence after what the government’s own key witness against him said was a “show trial — a real-life, Soviet-style prosecution.”

Former Rep. Steve Stockman

Stockman “boldly led the charge that eventually resulted in Ms. Lerner admitting her abuse of power, being held in contempt of Congress and being ousted her from her post,” Rebecca Hagelin wrote in an Aug. 4 analysis for The Washington Times.

“But while Ms. Lerner now lives as a free woman, even though she and her crooked government buddies enacted revenge on Stockman, who now is languishing in a federal prison under a 10-year sentence.”

The case against Stockman, Hagelin wrote, “involves the supposed tricking of nonprofit donors, based on four checks and two donors. It took twice as long as the Trump investigation, four grand juries, the pressuring of witnesses and millions of dollars to convict the former legislator.”

The nonprofit donors in Stockman’s case never complained or contacted the government, Hagelin noted. “Rather, the DOJ sought them out. The government’s own key FBI witness, Ben Wetmore, called it a ‘show trial — a real-life, Soviet-style prosecution.’ ”

An FBI witness testified at Stockman’s trial that an agent was brought onto the FBI team to investigate the congressman the same month Stockman appeared on Fox News calling for Lerner’s arrest.

“The government organizations and people on whom Stockman blew the whistle are the very ones who tried and secured his conviction — the FBI, DOJ and IRS,” Hagelin wrote.

“So disturbing was the prosecution of the congressman that dozens of high-profile conservatives are ringing the bell in a ‘friend of the court,’ or amicus, brief filed last week in Stockman’s case. The previous amicus brief filed in early June and the new one pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, where Stockman’s case now resides, lay out a shocking scheme to silence Stockman and keep him locked up.”

Mark Fitzgibbons, a fundraising law expert at political direct mail pioneer Richard Viguerie’s American Target Advertising agency, who wrote the amicus brief for Stockman’s appeal, said “the Government’s prosecution of Steve is very disturbing on so many levels, from its incorrect legal arguments about nonprofit expenditures in the political arena to contorting innocent acts by Steve to appear suspicious. No Democrat would have been prosecuted this way.”

The matters for which Stockman was criminally prosecuted “usually would have been addressed through administrative hearings with civil fines as the worst penalties,” Hagelin wrote. “But Stockman — whose appeal makes a strong case for his innocence — was put away for a decade. The amicus brief and scores of conservative leaders are calling on the courts or the president to correct this egregious wrong.”

The 2018 criminal trial of Stockman “has laid bare the underbelly of political targeting by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice,” Hagelin wrote.

“The gutsy former Texas congressman undid much of President Barack Obama’s agenda when he blocked, via a ‘blue slip,’ the president’s signature legislative priorities — the immigration and gun control bills — effectively keeping the Senate from sending the bills to the House for a vote.”

Stockman also introduced a bill calling for U.S. Capitol Police to arrest Lerner for destroying government emails and for obstruction of justice.

“Steve Stockman is an American hero who had the guts to expose corruption at the highest levels,” Hagelin wrote. “If the abuses of power that now leave him shackled are not investigated and prosecuted, then who will ever dare question the leftist power mongers in the future?

“If his conviction is not overturned or pardoned, then Mr. Obama, Ms. Lerner and the liberal cronies who walked free from their own crimes will have succeeded in crushing a good man who fought to hold them accountable.”

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